Get to Know Rick Fawcett

NEOMED has added a new counselor to its staff: Rick Fawcett, the assistant director for the Center for Student Wellness & Counseling Services at NEOMED. He recently joined forces with Theresa Novak, director of the Center for Student Wellness & Counseling Services, to provide counseling services to students.

When we sat down with Rick to learn more about his role on campus, the first thing we noticed was his passion for helping people.

You earned a bachelor’s degree in secondary science education and a master’s in curriculum and instruction at Youngstown State University before returning to school for a counseling degree. Why did you change careers?  

The lack of flexibility from the state mandates and tests made me switch.  I felt like I was teaching to the tests more than helping the students.  I was also a coach for a while and liked that more informal aspect of helping people. My mom was a social worker, so I think that was a part of it, too: seeing her experiences with her clients.

What experiences do you bring with you?

Before coming to campus, I served as an alcohol and drug rehab counselor for three years and then I did outpatient community mental health counseling for a year. On campus, my role entails bringing that direct service of counseling to the students as well as educational outreach. This means presentations on mental health topics such as test anxiety, perfectionism and yoga or meditation, during professional foundations. We also hold presentations on sexual bystander training to provide prevention education on campus.

I understand counseling is not just for when you are sad.  

It is not just for classic anxiety or depression. We are there to help with whatever students have going on in day-to-day life, like relationship issues, friendships, roommates, etc. Students should come in when they feel stressed out, like we all feel from time to time. For example, “Hey, I don’t get along with my roommate. How can I approach this situation?”  We can help with things like that.

If you could give incoming students one piece of advice, what would it be?

It was said throughout professional foundations, but I agree that it is a marathon, not a sprint. Throughout your time here, there are going to be successes and setbacks. It is really about keeping a balance and keeping your perspective that doing badly on one assignment doesn’t mean you don’t deserve to be here. If you made it here, you deserve to be here. My dad is a family practice doctor, and I think that has helped me understand how stressful a profession that this could be. Seeing his stresses firsthand—the getting up in the middle of the night, the long hours—gave me an appreciation for the magnitude of responsibility of the medical profession.

How can students balance school with their personal lives?

Given the demands that you have on your time when you are a student, it is really about taking those opportunities to exercise a few times a week and take care of yourself physically. Whatever your spiritual beliefs are, taking some time to retrieve or engage in them will really keep all those areas of life in balance.  Talk to your friends every now and then; talk to your family. Don’t just completely focus on school and school alone.

Counseling for NEOMED students is free and confidential. No insurance is needed. The Center for Student Wellness and Counseling is located in the NEW Center, inside the Summa Physicians Family Practice office suite. To make an appointment, send an email to

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